INTERNATIONAL CHILD HELPLINE DAY - May 17, was declared and dedicated to celebrating the work of child helplines all over the world by Child Helpline International. International Child Helpline Day is a special day whereby child helplines all over the world hold various activities and celebrations to highlight their work and achievements. This year's theme is ''The Right to be Heard!”
In commemorating this day, I would like to express my heart felt sentiments of pity to the Nigerian girls who were abducted at school. Every day, I think about them and I feel a certain sense of deep sorrow and sadness. Where ever these girls are, their relatives are feeling the void gaps that have been created by such an act of dehumanization in its worst form. This act cannot and should not, in anyway, be excused in this modern era we are living in. It goes without overemphasizing the fact that a lot of the aforementioned girls’ human rights have been infringed up on by this single act of dehumanization.
#BRING BACK OUR GIRLS
On April 14, I was very shocked 234 school girls between the ages of 12 and 18 were abducted from a Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in Northern Nigeria by an Islamist armed group. There are so many better ways of making political statements or raising your voice to be heard and abducting young and innocent girls is not among them.
It's been a month since the Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by an armed group that has terrorized northeastern Nigeria. There have been reports that there are some advances by the armed group towards sexually exploiting the young girls and this as well is unthinkable and sickening. These children have the right to education and this is in accordance to the constitution of Nigeria and the UN CRC Article 28 which clearly articulates that Children have the right to an education. As the right to education is being promoted, there are; conversely, some adult groups that are abducting the children from their schools in Nigeria. The abduction could also prevent parents from sending their girls to school. We can't let that happen. Education is a human right, and all girls in Chibok or elsewhere in the world are entitled to education and they should pursue it, free from violence.
I humbly ask the Nigerian authorities to find a workable means of securing the release of the girls and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Article 35 of the CRC clearly stipulates that; Governments should make sure that children are not abducted or sold and article 32 of the same document which stipulates that; Governments should protect children from work that is dangerous or that might harm their health or education.
I also urge the Nigerian government and all countries to ensure that all children are able to access their right to education in safety. All organizations concerned with children should work towards what is best for each child. There is need to establish more helpline service centres in the countries where helplines do not exist. Children need to be connected and their concerns heard.
YONECO is an organization that manages the Tithandizane National helpline in Malawi .A lot of children have received help and the necessary listening ear through the Tithandizane National Helpline. Furthermore, YONECO broadcasts a lot of radio adverts and the organisation conducts public awareness campaigns in order to make sure that children and all peace loving citizens of Malawi know where to report whenever a child has been abused.
YONECO commemorates this day by going through the number of cases which the organisation has been able provide the necessary referals and assistance to abused children. YONECO ensures that help for children is just a phone call away and at no cost!